24-hour Prayer Vigil
Living Proof of Compassion in Action
On April 18, 1985, Jetsunma and her students began a 24-Hour Prayer Vigil for World Peace. Continuing unbroken to the present day, the Prayer Vigil, which takes place in the Prayer Room at Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC), in Poolesville, Maryland, has become known as the “heartbeat of the temple.” Participants sign up for two-hour shifts around the clock. Vigil participants vow to continue this round-the-clock prayer activity until all beings everywhere are free from suffering.
Within 2 months of beginning the vigil, we received word that a Tibetan Lama was visiting America for the first time and he wanted to meet Jetsunma. He was H.H. Penor Rinpoche, the 11th throne-holder of the Palyul Lineage of Nyingma Buddhism. During that visit, he taught, gave us Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows and told us we were Buddhists, if we chose to be. As we continued the prayer vigil after he left, we added the 7 Line Prayer to Guru
Rinpoche, which H.H. had given us.
Why Prayer Works
The Buddha teaches that we are not separate from others. Our basic hopes are the same, and at the level of our absolute, pure nature, we are inseparable. Because of this intimate connection with others and the environment, prayer works. Jetsunma has said, ”this is your planet. Take planet earth within you and never be separate. Abandon no one, refuse no one the comfort of your spirit. Embrace all the universe and you will be sustained. There is a big difference in praying for the earth elsewhere and praying for the earth at the Temple, because it’s constant here. I want this to go on forever. It’s the consistency of it and the power of it and the people praying with that consciousness of “I am the world” that’s really doing it.”
The Lamas who have visited KPC have recognized this.
When H.H. Ngawang Tenzin from Bhutan was in Maryland, he was marveling at all Jetsunma’s activity, and surprised to hear that our Sangha was so small. In India, Tibet and Bhutan, they have thousands of monks generating great merit pools to support the enlightened activity of the Lamas. In light of that, he was wondering how Jetsunma had accomplished so much with such a small group, all of whom were working in the world, even the monastics. When he saw the prayer chart and had it explained to him, how long it had gone on and that it was continuous, he said, “that’s how Jetsunma is doing all this!” He then had all his monks sign up to participate in the prayer vigil.
Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche said, “Please do not abandon the prayer chart. Please do not abandon this effort. There is no effort like this anywhere in the world, where for 38 years a group of practitioners have committed to praying for sentient beings. We are constantly producing merit day and night and that may be the reason why this temple is so successful… please consider this your samaya… do not break that commitment”.
Tulku Dawa said, “I thank you from the depth of my heart for the prayer vigil you hold. It is a difficult time now and I so appreciate this – what you are doing here. I can’t say that enough. I just so appreciate this.”
With each passing year we see more and more miracles that seem to be impossible. They may involve the health of one of us or someone we prayed for, or something else. We are grateful to the power of the compassion that sustains our teachers and the prayer vigil.
Help support KPC’s general fund that has made this long standing prayer vigil possible. To date we have raised $37,479.42 toward the $100,000 end of year goal. Please make a donation today.